How do you balance historical accuracy and personal preference
when it comes to interacting with others in a historical recreation setting?
- My response:
We're playing a game, and it's important that, as much as possible, people's enjoyment of the game not be spoiled. This does mean trying to follow something resembling median rules, thus ending up with "this game" rather than some other game that a bunch of people didn't sign up to play in the first place. Historical accuracy in a re-creational setting sets the ground rules, and it's an important goal that when followed, makes it easier for people to have fun.
That said, it's important to remember that such games are played in a social (and otherwise real-world) context, and that the exterior concerns are simply more important than the game-rules concerns. This includes everything from the vital (your pills may be OOP, but you shouldn't stop taking them just because you're at an SCA event) and to the comparatively trivial (if it's too much effort to serve edible period food or research fun period dances, but you still need to eat or want to dance, do OOP stuff!) It's far more important that people involved in the activity get good stuff out of it than that any -particular- rules are followed. The only "bad fun" here is when the context creates mis-information (people spending 5 years in the SCA before finding out that Hole in the Wall isn't -actually- period, or thinking parry-riposte is a useful renn-period fencing move; solution: make sure people don't spread active mis-information if you can) or when you've got mutually incompatable games being attempted (historical reenactors vs elves in kilts: solution, probably split the group, or solidify the expectations/rules for the core group and probably split the group anyway).
In the end, it doesn't really (barring my caveats about "bad fun") matter how historically accurate you are; it is important that you end up with a game that suits and creates the group it's intended for.
I find it, btw, rather amusing that my response, while pretty much matching my opinion of many years, uses a lot of the language and concepts from the RPG Theory movement.
I don't usually participate in memes like this. But this was fun enough, so I'm reposting my answer from rosefox's journal, and I figure I might as well keep it moving (and, um, mutating). Ask me a question, and I'll try to answer it. Or post a comment asking for one, and I'll try to find an interesting question to ask you.